Imphal: Manipur today observed the Khongjom Day with state honours, paying befitting tributes to the heroes of the Khongjom War. The main event was held at Kheba Ching at Khongjom in Thoubal district, Manipur.
The observation began with the laying of wreaths led by Governor Anusuiya Uikey and Chief Minister N. Biren Singh at the Khongjom War Memorial. Following a guard of honour, general salute, reverse arms, sounding of last post, two-minutes silence, slope arms and order arms, floral wreaths were also laid at the Paona Brajabashi Statue with guard of honour and gun salute.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor Anusuiya Uikey said today is the day of remembering the “heroes of Manipur” and paying homage to those patriots who laid down their lives fighting against the British in 1891.
While observing this day, we need to remember that foreign powers become active only when there are internal conflicts, the Governor expressed.
She explained that the Khongjom War is the most important event in the history of Manipur.
There are many unknown heroes who have fought against foreign forces like the British in villages, mountains, places like Manipur and awakened the spirit of freedom in the people, she said adding that we need to remember them also. And for this they are being remembered during the year of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, she highlighted.
She said the sacrifices of “Manipur’s heroes” like Major Paona Brajabashi, Major Chongtham Mia, Chinglen Sana, Major Khumbong, Major Loitongba and many more are important and there is a need to remember them.
“Today, we are citizens of a free India and our independence is not a gift of the British, but a result of long struggle and sacrifices made”, she said, adding that “we should always remember this”.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of the youth to maintain and protect the dignity, freedom and sovereignty of the country, she said, highlighting that independence should not be interpreted in the narrow sense of separatism and regionalism. Any threat or challenge, whether external or internal, must be faced unitedly and courageously, she added.
She then appealed to the youth of the State to reject violence and join the mainstream to work for development and progress of the country.
“I request you that in the year of Amrit Mahotsav of Independence, we also remember all such unsung heroes who have fought for freedom. Statues of such great sons should be installed in their villages, the younger generation should be told about them,” the Governor said.
“On this occasion of Khongjom Day, let us pay homage not only to the patriots who laid down their lives for the freedom of their motherland, but also to the innumerable freedom fighters of India who made selfless sacrifices for India,” she added.
The Governor also said, “Along with this, we should also remember our pledge to maintain and protect the independence and sovereignty of our country and its dignity”.
Delivering his presidential speech, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said that today “we are remembering those who had sacrificed their lives, 132 years ago in 1891 for their motherland”.
The Chief Minister also said, “We all know why and how the Khongjom War was fought”. He added that despite knowing of their disadvantages of being ill-equipped and outnumbered, our brave forefathers fought the British.
Today, what is important is whether today’s generation is able to safeguard, preserve the freedom, independence given to us by our brave forefathers, the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister further recounted a brief account of the war and recalled how Pukhrambam Kajao killed Grimwood, the then ‘political agent’ of Manipur with his spear.
He recounted the public uproar in Manipur against the British’s decision to send Maharaj Kullachandra and others to a jail in Andaman Nicobar and the eventual release of the Maharaj owing to the public uproar.
The Chief Minister elaborated that Maharaj Kullachandra refused to apologize before the British Queen and to assure not to rebel against the British rule.
When the Maharaj was eventually released, he decided to move to Brindavan citing that he could not return to his land when his people were under the British, N. Biren Singh continued.
The Chief Minister further stressed on the need for politicians and bureaucrats to be sincere and nationalistic and highlighted that today under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision, untiring attitude, India has grown so much.
“We had fought against the British as a united Manipur”, the Chief Minister said highlighting the participation of different communities in the war. “We lived together, we are living together and we will continue to live together”, the Chief Minister stated.
Highlighting that there will be development when there is peace, the Chief Minister said a national conference of YAS ministers will be held in the State on April 24-25 and further urged the people against calling any bandh, blockade or strikes which will create apprehension amongst people coming from outside.